The JSU softball team came close to winning their final game against Drexel in the Savannah State Lady Tiger Invitational, but they came up short 10-9.
It seemed to be a runaway for the Gamecocks since they were up 9-2 entering into the fifth inning. In a miraculous turnaround, the Dragons of Drexel managed four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to pull off the victory against the Gamecocks.
With 14 total hits on the day, the Gamecocks made it look easy for the first little while. They started in the first inning with two runs. Ella Denes took the first run home after a hit by Taylor Sloan, and moments later she took their second run with help from a single by Caitlyn Sapp. The Dragons managed a run of their own in the bottom of the first. The inning closed with the Gamecocks ahead 2-1.
The second inning was scoreless for both teams but the top of the third saw two more runs by the Gamecocks. The first came off the feet of Sloan after a single by Emily Church, the second from Cadi Oliver. The Dragons were scoreless in the bottom of the third, keeping the Gamecocks ahead 4-2.
The Gamecocks took another two runs at the top of the fourth inning. One came from Denes, who was helped by a single from Whitney Gillespie; the other once again from Sloan. Drexel went into the bottom of the fourth down by five runs, but cut it to four after JSU walked a batter and allowed Drexel’s Baeley Reed to score.
The fifth inning began with the Gamecocks leading 6-2. They jumped up another three runs quickly. Two came off Taylor Sloan’s triple that sent Denes and Anna Snider home. The third came when Sloan went home herself.
The Gamecocks seemed to have a handle on the game until the bottom of the fifth. The Dragons scored four runs to close the gap between the two teams to just three runs. The score entering the sixth was still JSU’s 9-6.
JSU froze in the top of the sixth and went scoreless, while Drexel managed to score another four runs to put them in the lead 10-9. The top of the seventh gave JSU one final chance. However, they could not quite put anything together and Drexel took the narrow victory by one.
Despite the loss, the Gamecocks had an amazing day. Taylor Sloan was 5-for-5 and had four runs. Ella Denes was behind her with a 3-for-5 day and three runs. Pitcher Taylor West had four strikeouts and Casey Akenberger had two.
The Gamecocks move to 3-3 on the season. They head to Lake Buena Vista, Fla. to play in the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic. The grueling slate includes three Southeastern Conference teams, beginning on Feb. 19 with Missouri.